At Performance Quest, we work with hundreds of Sales Professionals each year which means we have some interesting insights into the trends shaping the future of the sales industry.
Customer Driven Trends
Customer expectations are rising exponentially. Customers are seeking more of the following:
- More data/information – and not just what they can google for themselves.
- More contact on their terms – when they want it and how they want it; online, on chat, by text, Facetime, on a whole host of collaborative tools as well via the phone, video conference or in person.
- More self-service with the ability to place orders online, select delivery times and check the progress of their orders
- More detail, or help and advice
- More guidance from their Sales Professional who now needs to become their “Trusted Advisor” or “Consultant”
Workforce driven trends
The millennial workforce is also re-shaping the traditional world of sales through:
- An increased reliance on tech – and familiarity with the use of tablets, mobile devices/apps
- Early adoption of all new tech – including sales support tools such as CRM and lead generation
In recent years there has been an increase in the introduction of collaborative tools that aid communication between sales and operations, sales professional and sales manager, sales professional and customer. Sales is rapidly using tech to create an ‘always on’ environment.
We are seeing coffeeshops becoming the new office, and global customers extending the working day. The challenge is how to utilise these trends and harness tech to have a positive impact; to improve conversions/win rates and improve salesforce efficiency.
It is still early days with the use of AI in Sales, but most people expect that it will gain ground quickly as studies have shown it’s proven to boost productivity. AI is being used effectively to help with various sales processes, such as lead generation and gathering data and insights.
Lead generation and qualification software has the ability to:
- Engage web visitors.
- Qualify leads to help sales professionals quickly identify the leads worth pursuing, so they don’t waste their valuable time and company resources chasing leads they will not win, or where customers are not serious about buying.
- Help sales professionals with their admin.
AI is also being used to generate information and insights such as:
- Company information, presentations and videos.
- Customer intelligence to help sales professionals with doing their homework on customers before a visit.
- View how their company is performing.
- Pipeline Management
- Sales Forecasting
- Target Predictions
The role of the Sales Professional is safe. These emerging trends are changing the world of sales enablement rather than trying to replace the role of the sales professional. They need to be embraced to assist sales professionals to be more effective – freeing up their time from tasks that stop them selling and focusing their effort so that they use their time wisely.